By James Okuk, PhD
March 26, 2012 (SSNA) — Few weeks back in Juba after Mr. Pagan Amum, the Secretary-General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, came back from Addis Ababa with a failed message of deadlock of negotiations on oil business with the Republic of the Sudan, he was shockingly received by Mr. Arthur Akuein Chol with a crown of rose full of irritating thorns.
The thorny crown was prepared inside the chamber of the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, especially with the provocation that emanated from the summoning of Mr. Uncle Commander Elijah Malok, former Governor of the Bank of Southern Sudan who has his signature on all the categories of South Sudanese Pound.
This former man of money declared himself in the factory of law as free from any suspicious closed-door deals, and instead accused Mr. Arthur Akuein to be the suspected thief of the missing public monies that were audited by the Auditor-General and his crew. He produced some documents for his self-acquittal and was unhappy when the MPs did not use them as references in the hot sitting where the opposition SPLM-DC appealed and urged for forgiveness of the SPLM suspected thiefs of public fund since they are above the their own laws.
However, Mr. Arthur Akuein didn’t raised an objection pause in the August House but rather called a press conference later in one of the expensive eating houses in Juba where he accused SPLM VIPs from “ABOVE” of ordering him to spent and distribute the public monies in the way he did. He was playing loyalist game by then as the financial minister of the government of Southern Sudan to the SPLM VIPs from ‘Above’.
It came out from his press release that he sent a huge amount of millions of dollars to a personal bank account of Mr. VIP Pagan Amum, though he shifted the paradigm later by saying that he wired the same huge amount to the SPLM party’s bank account.
This contradiction seems to have watered down Mr. Arthur Akuein’s case. The dusty dangerous documents in a dusty briefcase by which he bullied his rivals with all throughout the past four years couldn’t support his defense for defamation of Pagan’s political image. The Equatorian judge disvalued the those documents and the Man from Bahr El-Ghazal was left to a teethy crocodile like a Nile Perch who it used to fear before. Unless, Mr. Arthur Akuein is ready to come up with another dusty briefcase full of dangerous financial disbursement documents if disposed in front of a judge, his appeal looked possibly a lost gold in a goal.
Thus the drama of the Benydit and Guandit not Bandit could be seriated follows:
1) A SPLM member and a MP who is also ‘a suspected public money thief’ shouted ‘thief’ at the SPLM Secretary-General in Home and Away Hotel in Juba. Two newspapers published the news about this courageous top-voice shout.
2) But the SPLM VIP who was shouted at run to the police station in Malakia to sue the shouter and publishers of the ‘thief shout news’.
3) The case was taken to court under torts rather than criminal suit.
4) The assigned judge was so enthusiastic and capable of pronouncing a final verdict within a very short period while many gravest cases remain pending in Juba courts since the arrival of SPLM bush government of the so-called liberators in 2005. It took Goldenberg corruption scandal in Kenya at least two years before the final verdict. What a lucky and efficient SPLM legal court system and operation in Juba!
5) Funny enough one of the sittings was done in a controversial visiting presence of the Chief Justice of the Republic of South Sudan who could have been looking with red eyes at the judge during the process, and perhaps telling him in silence or in secret: "be with us or you are against us with consequence of possible loss of your lucrative job of the rare job of ‘My Lord’, dare you take the opposite path with them".
6) Naturally, the case was in favor of the SPLM VIP who was so fortunate to get away with additional big amounts of South Sudanese Pounds, and too happy to the extent of unconsciously thanking the judge and other supporters of his, and even the defendants who he was looking at as media tools for jumping to a mismatched conclusion of "acquittal" when there was nothing of such kind in the first place. Juba University was fortunate to get the SPLM VIP’s free donation from suspected money out of the court’s unveridical fine.
7) Not only this, but also the Oyee Party’s VIP was so obsessed with the crony’s victory to the extent of forgetting that he was the one who sued the ‘thief shouter’ and the ‘publishers of the thief shout’. He might have been thinking at that moment as if he was the one who got sued in the so-called court of quick law from “Above” in Juba.
Nonetheless, when plaintiffs start to think unconsciously that they are victorious by acquittal then something should be declared upside down in the system of justice of SPLM ruling party in South Sudan. This is not common in the common law. Perhaps a new precedent likely incoherent with the established principles of jurisprudence!
What is the message from this dramatic drama then? It could be put like this in a direct speech: "You the Non-VIPs of South Sudan dare you again "shout thief" to the well-placed SPLM VIPs and you will face the same fate of Arthur Akuein, Al-Masir and the Citizen Newspapers; you will pay very heavy fines and even imprisonments for your tongue or pens if you don’t shut them down like South Sudan oil fields and behave like good boys to the liberators’ regime."
But is Juba University so desperate and overwhelmed with poverty and vulnerability that makes it susceptible of grasping any money gotten by any means to the extent of waiting for judges of South Sudan "to acquit the plaintiffs" and "fine the defendants" so that this can become a source of revenue to the Capital City’s Varsity?
For me as a free citizen of South Sudan and part-time lecturer, the University of Juba should keep its dignity by declining the receipt of the donation of the SPLM VIP, especially when it is coming out from a contested court’s ruling (pending for a suspected appeal as well).
Let’s our Mother Public University of South Sudan not be defiled by money whose sources might be tainted with the dirt of evilness of the darkness that has befallen the public monies of South Sudan since 2005. It is better to be poor and with dignity than be made rich and luxurious by donations of suspected public monies’ thieves who pretend to be benevolently charitable but only for shaky political gains and cover-ups in hunt for undeserved students’ support.
Let’s the SPLM VIP enjoy his own additional booty from the court without involving Juba University in his short-lived banquet of justice for the strongest in South Sudan. Let him donate his booty to his own political party so that it could build a permanent SPLM Secretariat Headquarters in Juba or Ramciel after the temporary one was subsumed by fire last time.
Sincere charity should start at home and not anywhere else for us to be politically realistic and far from politics of Machiavellianism in South Sudan. Real justice from just and free law will prevail one day in South Sudan when the calls for genuine reforms and change become a realistic dream seeable on the ground with realistic approaches rather than propaganda.
Long Live Juba University even with its current poverty! Away with SPLM Secretary-General’s unfortunate donation of the suspected money to our dear Mother University!
Dr. James Okuk (PhD) lives in Juba and could be reached at okukjimy@hotmail.